Nov 29, 2009 5:11am
Re: What is a 'restoration' and is it grounds for ownership of PD materials?
"you do know what public domain is???.......it's when the owners rights are cut loose..."according to and only....it's owner"."
No, that is incorrect. The public domain is the body of work for which itellectual property no longer applies. It is true that since 1989 new works have to be expressly dedicated to the public domain, but prior to that many works fell into the public domain due to:
1. Lack of valid copyright notice.
2. Lack of timely registration.
3. Lack of timely renewal at the end of the first copyright term.
Quite often, works by prominent and prolific artists fell into the public domain during their lifetime. All copyrights for works published before 1978 are fixed terms regardless of the author's date of death. The USA did not institute a "life +X years" term calculation until that year, so all works published since then are calculated based on a number of years after the author's death. However, works for hire and works of corporate authorship still have fixed terms of copyright not based on any contributor's date of death.
If the original work was allowed to fall into the public domain the author or the author's estate have no rights except for an expectation of what is called "moral rights." That is, that the work will not be claimed as someone elses original work. However, the law of moral rights is not retroactive and does not expressly give this right to the author of works published before the Berne Implementation Act.
Any underlying artwork in a cartoon is tied to the copyright in the film unless the underlying artwork was:
a) published prior to the film (meeting the formalities required to secure copyright).
b) registered as an unpublished work prior to the publication of the film.
Under these conditions the film then becomes a derivative work based on the copyright artwork.
If a person secures ownership of the last remaining print of a rare public domain film they are free to copy and distribute it however they please.
This post was modified by Video-Cellar on 2009-11-29 13:11:00